VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Scott Hend of Australia eagled No. 18 for the second straight day to reclaim the lead at the end of a fluctuating third round of the BMW PGA Championship on Saturday, as Masters champion Danny Willett slipped down the leaderboard.
Hend started the day tied for the lead with Willett on 10 under and ended it with a one-stroke advantage on 9 under. But that was only after an 8-iron approach on the par-5 last came in from the light rough to rest within 3 feet of the cup, saving an otherwise rocky back nine at Wentworth.
”It was a nice bonus,” said Hend, who is seeking his second victory of the year. ”I got a lucky bounce, but it was very nice.”
Willett dropped five shots in his last 10 holes for a 76, tumbling to 6 under and a tie for fifth. He followed up scoring 39 on the back nine on Friday with 41 over the same stretch a day later.
”It’s disappointing to be somewhere there or thereabouts and then to play poor on the back nine like we did yesterday,” Willett said. ”Off to the range and see if we can get something going for tomorrow.”
Willett no longer leads the home challenge at Wentworth, either.
That honor goes to fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who shot 66 – the lowest round of the day – to be within a shot of Hend on a course he knows so well. Hatton’s childhood home was 30 minutes away from Wentworth and he has been coming here since the age of 5, first with his parents as a fan and now as a potential champion of the European Tour’s flagship event.
”It just makes this tournament feel so much more special,” the 24-year-old Hatton said.
Playing the event for the 23rd straight year, Lee Westwood is also in contention after a 68. The former top-ranked player is tied for third place with Y.E. Yang (75) on 7 under.